|Dancing Trees, acrylic, 30" x 24"|
1999 was a challenging year. While our son grew up with well-developed motor skills, he still spoke less than 20 words at the age of two. It was very stressful to see our little boy struggle, worrying that something was wrong with him, especially since the scare after his birth. An additional challenge was that we raised Dominic bilingually. I spoke German to him and my husband English. After assessments by speech therapists, we had to go to weekly speech therapy sessions. It was a long and often frustrating path that paid out in the end.
My husband still worked on the project in Halifax and was gone often. He finally moved to Halifax for six months in the fall of 1999. Therefore, I kept busy meeting friends and exercising regularly at the gym. I finally met two German women who had small children and shared common interests with me. We spent a lot of time together, sometimes meeting even twice a day. The bond between us changed when the other two became pregnant for the second time. They became closer, and I felt like the fifth wheel.
I was eager to have another baby, though my husband was not ready for more children. Our disagreement about this crucial decision for our family created a great rift between us.
However, my husband was not the only one who was unhappy in our relationship. Regularly, I felt crushed by my roles as a 24-hour cleaning lady and child caretaker. I wanted more from my life. I wanted to challenge myself. That is why I became the president of the Orleans Newcomers Club only three years after I had joined. Due to my thirst for more cultural distractions, I already had a membership to the National Gallery and its Junior Member Society. In 1999, I also joined the Gloucester Craftsmen Guild and Arteast, an Orleans art organization.
My parents had purchased a cottage so that they could have their own space when they came for their visits. During the rest of the time, we were able to use it. It had a beautiful garden with lots of flowers. It was a very relaxing place to retreat from the daily routine. There, I found time to sketch and paint.
In October 1999, I took part in the Arteast art exhibition at the Gloucester Library. It was the first time that I hung two paintings in a public place for sale. At the same time, I continued to make bears for the Gloucester Craftsmen Guild Christmas Market. I was proud about this step and wondered if anyone would be interested in buying my creations, even though I was not ready to part with them.
My family was not too supportive. They did not understand that it was more about approval than making money.
When I went to Germany with Dominic for Christmas, I was not sure what the new millennium would bring for our family. I enjoyed the support from family and friends. The happy times ended abruptly when my grandmother was hospitalized on Christmas Day and died the following day. It was a sad finish of a burdensome year.
However, during the times of crisis, I also learned a lot about myself and the people around me. I felt stronger and was happy about the bond to my wonderful son. I realized that a second child might not be the right decision for our family. My husband and I had too many other interests and dreams. Nevertheless, I was optimistic that we would become a family again. If you want to know how the story continues, I invite you to read the next chapter of my story in two weeks.